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Photo Essay

As L.A. Keeps Gentrifying, the Three Vaqueros Behind ‘Connecting Compton’ Want Their ‘Hood to Stay Riding Horses and Growing Their Own Food (Photo Essay)

4:25 PM PST on January 6, 2022

Daniel Zepeda, Hector Gomez, and Rogelio Diaz started Connecting Compton in 2019. Their mission is to provide the community of Compton with a safe space where individuals of all ages and cultures can ride with a sense of unity, belonging, and pride. They plan on restoring the agricultural and ranchero lifestyle that has slowly been forgotten in Compton—by fundraising and building Compton’s first multicultural Equestrian Center.

Richland Farms, a tight-knit neighborhood that has existed in Compton since before the land was known as Compton, was once a flourishing Farmland and known for producing grain, pumpkins, beets, and cauliflower. It was established in the late 1800s and was still an agricultural hub in the 1900s. Now, the ten-block-long community is the anchor of Compton’s equestrian lifestyle.

Connecting Compton hosts “Thursday Community Rides” with neighboring riders and “Annual Unity” rides. The latter ride can sometimes feature up to 100 riders from Compton and riders who travel to ride from other equestrian-friendly cities in Southern California.

They have big dreams for their Equestrian Center to help connect the area’s youth to their historic neighborhood’s agricultural roots by offering lessons on growing food and taking care of livestock. They hope that those who choose to learn this craft can become tradespeople in 2022 to produce a source of income that provides a vital local service to the community.

A month ago, Diaz started a petition on where supporters can donate and raise awareness for their neighborhood project. It is currently at 375 signatures.

All photos by Gilberto Godoy Jr. for L.A. TACO.

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